I can't stop yelling at my 7 yr old during homework..I'm horrible

User - posted on 07/24/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I want to cry as a write this because I’m ashamed of myself. It has been happening since my son entered kindergarten. I yell at him when he doesn’t understand something (homework) even though I realize that he’s just a kid and I’m there to help him. We try to do homework at least twice a week during summer vacation and we did so yesterday…bad idea. First off, I had a crappy day at work so I was already in a bad mood. Second, we tried homework in the living room, where my 3 year old was watching something on Netflix…also a bad idea. Of course my son would be distracted, what else did I expect. During homework he kept turning to watch tv and I kept yelling at him to stop and because his answers to the math problems were wrong. I could see in his little face and body language that he was stressed out and afraid to answer the problems because he knew I would get upset. My poor baby. It was just bad and at one point he just closed his eyes as I yelled at him. I don’t want to do this to him. I love him with all my heart and it kills me to know that I cause him that kind of anguish. My husband and I argued about it afterward and now we're not speaking either...I'm so upset about making my son feel sad..I just want to go home and cry.

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Christi - posted on 07/27/2012

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I don't think you are being a bad mom. I have an 8yr old son and a 6yr old daughter (plus a 21 yr old daughter) and it can be so frustrating at times. The thing is...I always wonder why parents worry so much about their kids getting their homework perfect. Kids are going to make mistakes. That's how they learn. It can so easily teach them school is torture like Sally B said above.

I made it a rule to never correct the mistakes my kids made when doing homework. The goal was for them to complete the homework to the best of their ability. I may suggest they relook at questions 5 and 8, and if they had questions, I would definitely help but it really wasn't my job to be sure they got the right answers...that's the teacher's job! When the kids brought their papers back, we would go over them and talk about the mistakes they made.

Kids have so much pressure on them now. Parents need to focus on supporting, not perfecting, their children. Just my two cents.

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You lost it. It happens to the best of us. My son is 7 too, and homework is STRESSFUL, but you can give yourself props because you've already taken the first steps toward fixing your problem: You've identified factors that make homework more stressful, and you've reached out for help. Those are big steps!

Here are some tips that work for us.
1. The obvious, you know you need a quiet place without distractions.

2. Block out some of YOUR time. I know with J, I tend to try to do my own tasks while he is working on his homework, but then I get annoyed and stressed out when he interrupts to ask for help. Instead, I block out 20 minutes to do nothing but focus on homework (have your hubby watch the 3 year old if you can). That way, I can sit down and be available without feeling interrupted. Yes, sometimes it's boring to just sit there (sometimes I grab a sketchbook and doodle), but it really cuts down on the stress, and just having me there tends to keep him more focused.

3. Make it a bonding time. J actually loves doing homework since I started to be actively involved. Watch him work and tell him how impressed you are at something specific, like "Wow, your letters are really looking good now" or "You are doing a great job at staying focused all on your own today!" He'll feel proud of himself rather than self conscious that he's making a mistake. Plus, if he does make a mistake, he'll know that he didn't screw up the whole thing, he just made one little error.

4. Tackle mistakes with care. When you notice a mistake, point to it and ask "How did you come up with this answer?" (At first, he may need a little prompting, but try to get him to take you through the steps he took or explain why he thought the answer he wrote was correct). 9 times out of 10, he will see the mistake on his own as he takes you through the process, and he will figure out the answer all by himself. When he does, congratulate him on figuring out his mistake and fixing it on his own.

Joe - posted on 04/26/2013

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It's not bad to get mad at your kids, helping them could be frustrating but you have to learn to control your anger. Instead of yelling squeeze a stress ball or chew on a pencil. You son has done nothing wrong, he's learning and hes not going to get everything right. Another thing is, you don't want your kid in the same room as a tv, that easily distracts kids. Just sit them in the kitchen and help them there, or have a dedicated homework room.

Chaya - posted on 07/27/2012

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Maybe someone else should be helping him with homework. Or you should just send him to his room to do it, perhaps your library has a tutoring program, or hire a teenager to help.
I planned ahead and saved milk bottle caps to teach addition, subtraction, etc, my daughter didn't need it, but my neighbor kids did, so I gave them to the parents.
The real problem isn't his lack of understanding,it's your patience

Sally - posted on 07/26/2012

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You already know at least part of what you did wrong and you want to do better. That makes you a human mommy instead of a bad one.
First--Apologize to him. Tell him that what you did was wrong and that you are sorry and that you will try not to do it again. Warn him that as a human you make mistakes, so it may happen again, but you will always apologize and try to do better next time That will teach him that even grownups screw up and the important thing is to realize it and try to fix it. That's far better for a kid than to see you try to be perfect.
Second--Don't try to teach him when the situation is just going to go bad. If you are having a bad day or there are distractions, why sabotage yourself? Accidentally teaching him that school is a torture that hurts both of you will hurt his academics far more than taking the summer off will.
Third--If you can't stay calm while you're teaching him even when there aren't stressful circumstances, either get someone else to do it or leave him alone. Accidentally teaching him that school is a torture that hurts both of you will hurt his academics far more than taking the summer off will.
Fourth--Try not to be so hard on yourself. Very few mommies can do everything they think their children need. Even fewer can do it all well. Do the best you can for him and if you find that's just not one of your skills, find him someone else or let it go.
Go snuggle your child and feel better.

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Dorothy - posted on 01/03/2013

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I am the same way with my 12 year old son. He is an only child and I expect perfection out of him. Tonight we battled to the point where my husband stepped in and told me to stop yelling. My son went to bed upset over me yelling at him because of his homework. I feel bad. I am always ready and willing to help him but I think I push my boundaries at times. I need to step back and let him fall down so he knows my intentions are good. That is the hardest thing to do, but I am going to try.

My other thought for you son is a symptom called CAP. Central Auditory Processing disorder. Usually found in 2nd graders. Most kids go undiagnosed. But if he is not retaining information, I would talk to your pediatrician about having him screened. My son has this and was told he would do poorly in school. Another reason why I am hovering. Good Luck to you!

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I know i'm a bit late,& not a mommy(i'm the daddy) Anyway,i have always had this problem,& have known why.I spend hours trying to find ways to not be that way,& ways to control my own fears. I kinda laugh at most of the suggestions on here because during homework time it's like i'm sucked into it,so no matter what things i tell myself before,& no matter what i do,i still am helpless to do anything but freak out. So,IMO,for me,all suggestions are null & void. I can try anything,but it still happens. I'm just so frustrated. However,your response is probably best of all of them. Since most things are not seemingly possible for me,i may try to just let him do it on his own.Make him responsible for figuring it out,himself. Although,i still see it difficult to do that. It's worth a shot. Problem is,he truly does have such a hard time understanding things(says his teacher) that he just stares at the paper cluelessly,as if he retained nothing from school that day. So,when he attempts it,i must eventually help. We go over 1 simple concept for forever,with no progress,with many more things to go. And the fact that i have no clue as to what i'm doing,as a teacher,combined with his slower ability to learn,& the fears controlling my patience,always leads to the same result....i freak out,and accomplish nothing but destroy his confidence,which of course is the fear causing it all,Grrr!!! I hate feeling this way too. I can see why it has a negative effect on your psyche. I does mine,which prolly doesn't help any. It makes you feel like you can do no right,no matter how hard you try,& no matter what you do. It (if i may say) Sucks!

Kelina - posted on 07/25/2012

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try getting out of the house. quiz him on math problems while you walk. have a nature lesson planned. make his "homework" time a little more fun and relaxed for the both of you. Pick out two stories at night one that he reads to you and one that you read to him. If he's having trouble with something try saying, teach me how. Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach. Don't do homework in the living room. Even when off, the tv is a distraction, try the kitchen table instead. also try working the little things into everyday life like spelling and math. If you ask him to set the table tell him how many forks and how many knives and ask how many that adds up to? little things like that will help you feel like you accomplished something without the tedium of sitting down.

Erin - posted on 07/25/2012

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You already know what the problem was, so when you have a bad day at work you need to do something to change that before you get home so your not in a bad mood and take it out on everyone at home. Stop at the store and buy something just for you! Even if you can't afford it, just do it, it will make you feel happy and get rid of that bad day at work. Then on Saturday you can go window shopping and return the expensive item you knew you couldnt afford anyway.LOL. But it does work!

My 7 year old shuts down when we do math, so I have tried many different ways to help her and not Frustrate me in the process. I tried having a snack that she likes and when she does a row of problems we stop for a lil snack, something small that doesn't take away from homework time, fruit gummies worked okay, every row of problems she gets one gummie. That worked for a while then she got tired of it, so I switched to ahhh the bad foods, m n m's one m for each row completed (correctly). Then that too wore out now her favorite and she'll do math for HOURS! we play school, I'm the substitute teacher and she and two of her barbies are students they each take turns doing a problem (of course she does the problem for both barbies) if one of my 3 students gets a problem wrong I ask if any of the other students can help her and she will redo the problem as one of the other barbies and usually gets it right! Use things he loves play make believe use trucks tools, the problems are wrong and he needs to be handy mannie and use some tools to fix them, get creative and try to have fun.

Also I have done this and felt bad, and immediately gave her a hug and told her I didn't mean to yell at you, mama had a bad day someone else made me mad today so I was just in a grumpy mood. This got me a big hug and a "its okay mama I still love you" so we went out for ice cream! Make sure you tell him your not mad at him, and explain what is wrong just because he's only 6 doesn't mean you can't apologize and explain, they want to know why and are very forgiving.

Good luck!

Ciara - posted on 07/25/2012

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I was always told if your not relaxed you can't help your family... I have an 8&6 year old and was also a daycare teacher working with all age groups... I learnd fun is the way to go when there not eye to eye with what you want to do.. Let them play with cars give him three ask to take away 2 how many do you have left and so on ... If there learning to read give them a list of five things to find around the house add numbers to it . Exp: 1) 3 red cars 2) 6 balls .... As for your self you'll relax count to 10 breath and explain it over. It take a small child 3 times to hear what you say. You will never be a bad mom in there eyes your the love of there life. When I yell, after I have come down I tell them am sorry for yelling but you were not lessening and it maid mommy upset i still love you and will always love you. Or to avoid the yelling all together I ask for there ears.. I hope this helps sorry for any wrong spelling am on a very small phone

Monica - posted on 07/24/2012

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Alma, I know the feeling. But, you know what? You are a WONDERFUL mom, because you see and acknowledge areas of improvement. It is your great expectation of your son that causes the frustration. You want so much for your son. And, you expect so much!! We all do. Here's a tip that has been passed down amongst some of my friends.

When you speak to your son during study time PRETEND that he is in fact someone elses child that you LOVE dearly. Let's say, it's your best friend's son. You would tend to be a little more patient with him than your own child. I was amazed when I applied the technique. It helped to remove all the emotions and stick to the task at hand--getting through the math without tension or fustration.

Also, make a diliberate effort to not yell. You can bit down on your jaws. Tighten your lips, turn your head, blink really fast, but don't yell. It really does cause fear. It will allow your son to speak up more, since you are not yelling even though he can see frustration in your actions.

You sound like you need a break from work/home/mommy life. Is it ever possible to send every body away? Or for you to go on a mini retreat? I do roughly every 2 years. I just need the time to be alone. I soak in the tub. I walk slow. I eat fruits and snacks. I order room service. I read, watch tv and laugh out loud. I go to the movies alone. I look out the window for hours. Not one care in the word. Not one voice or demand. Just me...it's really nice.

Oh, and I refused to feel quilty when I got phone calls from home. Although, I could feel the tension as it was time to go back to reality...urghhhh.

Lynne - posted on 07/24/2012

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I have done the same thing and just feel awful afterwards. I found, after time, that the best thing is to have 'tv free' homework time, just for 1/2 hour to start with. My 3 year old does not understand why she cant watch the tv at that time but we cant have it "good" for everyone all of the time. Someone has to give. I also have to remind myself that a 10 year old boys concentration levels are somewhat different to a 41 year old womans and his priorities are most certainly different. It is so hard and I still find myself yelling at him to "write neater,' 'sit up straight', 'look at the book not the wall " hold your pen properly" etc. I know that I am tired by the end of the day and so is he. I take a deep breath and try to calmly walk away and count to 10. You are not being a bad mum. You just love him and want the best results. For Holiday homework, try making it more fun. We made a 'Super Hero' book once. Lots of cutting out, sticking and drawing. research on the web, etc. Then he made his own lego super hero. You can do things that trick them into thinking they are playing when really they are learning/improving skills they will need back in the classroom.

Kasey - posted on 07/24/2012

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It dose not make you a horrible mom.just means you care it comes with time i dont havr a 7 year old i have 2year old and i did sream all the time at him. I realized it just makes it hared for him to learn. All i do is walk a way for a few min to calme down tell my self that he is just a kid. also have learnd if you keep it short and sweet it keep there attion a little better. dont be so hared on your slef you one person and you cant do it all if you have a bad just tell your husband that he will have to help do your sons home work because you not in a good mood.. this may not help you but i thoght you may need some one tell you your not a horrible mom..

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